Identifying news coverage (Justice and Crime Coverage)




judicial reporting, court reporting, media ethics


Content analysis is often used to examine the extent to which the individual actors involved in the trial (especially the defendant) can be identified through the reporting, for example through full attribution of names, a detailed description of the person, his or her living circumstances and photos.


Field of application/theoretical foundation:

The variable “identifying new coverage” is of particular relevance in the context of debates on media ethics and legal philosophy. This variable is used to examine the extent to which personal rights provisions are respected in media coverage.


Example study:

Oehmer (work in progress)


Information on Oehmer (work in progress)

Author: Franziska Oehmer

Research interest: The research interest of the study focuses on three sets of questions concerning 1) the selection and representativeness of court reporting, 2) the information function of court reporting and 3) the presentation of court reporting.

Object of analysis: court coverage in Swiss newspapers (Tagesanzeiger, NZZ, Neue Luzerner Zeitung, Südostschweiz, Blick, Gratiszeitung, 20Minuten)

Time frame of analysis: January 2007 – December 2017


Info about variable

Variable name/definition: identifying news coverage [Identifizierende Berichterstattung über Opfer und Angeklagten]

Level of analysis: Actors in most covered court case in article


  • Keine identifizierende Berichterstattung. Indikator: alleinige Verwendung der Bezeichnungen Opfer, Angeklagter, ...
  • Mittlere identifizierende Berichterstattung: Aussage ist dazu geeignet, dass das unmittelbare Umfeld die Person identifizieren kann, Indikator: Nennung des Vornamens und des Anfangsbuchstabens.
  • Große identifizierende Berichterstattung: Aussage ist dazu geeignet, das Dritte die Person identifizieren können. Indikator: Nennung des vollen Namens, Nennung des Vornamens in Verbindung mit Nennung des Berufs, Wohnsitzes und Arbeitsplatzes, ... 

Intercoder reliability: Holsti .73; Krippendorff’s Alpha: .57 (2 Coder)

Codebook: available (see attachment)



Oehmer, Franziska. Die dritte Gewalt in den Medien. Eine repräsentative quantitative Inhaltsanalyse der Gerichtsberichterstattung Schweizer Medien (work in progress). [Justice in the media. A representative quantitative content analysis of court reporting in the Swiss media].



How to Cite

Oehmer, F. (2021). Identifying news coverage (Justice and Crime Coverage). DOCA - Database of Variables for Content Analysis, 1(2).



News/Journalism: Variables for Content Analysis